Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez was quickest on a rain-interrupted Friday at Mugello, setting a time of 1'48.004 in the dry Free Practice One session, before intermittent rain prevented any riders improving their times in the afternoon Free Practice Two session.
Marquez’s best lap time in FP1 was just four-tenths of a second shy of his own Mugello Circuit Record Lap that he set last year, and put him 0.382 seconds clear of Yamaha Movistar MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi who was second overall today. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone also gave the Italian fans reason to cheer by setting the third-quickest time in FP1 and was the only other rider to lap within half a second of Marquez.
Although the track was dry for FP1, track temperatures in the morning session were quite cool with a peak recording of just 22°C. Track temperatures reached a peak of 30°C in the afternoon, but intermittent rain during FP2 created a track surface that was neither fully wet nor fully dry for most of the session. As the afternoon session drew to a close, the rain intensified causing truly wet conditions and it was Ducati’s Michele Pirro who set the benchmark time of 2'05.435 on wet tires in FP2.
The cool weather today resulted in every rider using the soft compound front slick in FP1, and although the softer rear slick options were also used by the majority of riders in the morning session, a few riders did take the opportunity to evaluate their harder rear slick. Current forecasts indicate that tomorrow morning’s FP3 session could be rain-affected, but conditions for FP4 and Qualifying Practice in the afternoon should be dry.
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport tire Development Department
“This morning we had a positive practice session so it was unfortunate that we had unsettled weather in the afternoon, as this prevented the teams from acquiring any useful information on tire performance or bike setup. At the start of the dry FP1 session this morning, the track temperature was among the coolest we’ve encountered so far this season, but the riders reported that our 2014 specification slicks worked well in the conditions. It was the first session of the weekend, but already the pace was almost as quick as we saw in the race last year so this indicates good warm-up performance and grip from the tires. Almost every rider used softer slick options front and rear in FP1, and due to the afternoon rain they were not able to compare the performance with the harder slicks as was planned. The weather forecast indicates that we could have wet conditions in the morning, but hopefully we will have fine conditions for the afternoon which will allow the riders to evaluate some different tire combinations before the race on Sunday.”